Mona Garland joined the new Scientific Games organization just over a month ago, and she’s already 100%+ immersed in the company’s global people strategy. As the company has hit record growth and is rapidly onboarding employees, she and SG’s growing HR team play a critical role in talent acquisition, employee engagement, diversity, and leadership development to maximize internal capabilities for a workforce spanning five continents.
A 25-year HR professional, Mona brings experience at global organizations such as General Electric and Brambles to Scientific Games. Most recently, she severed as the Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer and an integral member of the executive leadership team at a global materials and logistics organization. She’s known for being results-driven, collaborative – and fun.
How did you find your way to a career in HR?
Mona: Right out of college, I was an economic support specialist and essentially determined financial eligibility for impoverished families. I really got to know the families and understand their capability to earn a life-sustaining wage. I learned from that experience that you always treat people how you want to be treated. From there, I held several roles in operations until a pivotal moment when I was told by a corporate psychologist following a job interview that I was truly made for HR leadership.
What attracted you to Scientific Games?
Mona: Honestly, it was the people that drew me — the leaders and the employees I met. Everyone is smart and they are passionate. It felt like I belonged here. When SG’s Executive Leadership Team shared more about the business, their goals and our future, it just all aligned. We help lotteries do good in communities all over the world, so every day is a feel-good day. It’s exciting to be involved in serving on SG’s Executive Leadership Team and creating momentum for the new organization. That’s part of the fun for me.
Do you have a personal philosophy on HR’s role in a global organization?
Mona: I have experience supporting global teams in many different industries. The one thing that has remained constant is who I am as an HR leader. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world; I’m going to meet you where you are because that’s the secret sauce to how you connect with employees and build trust across the globe. Of course, there are cultural and governmental nuances as to how we approach businesses in different parts of the world. I’m always open to listening and learning because it’s never one-size-fits-all.
What are your initial observations about the lottery industry?
Mona: I’ve spent some time visiting SG facilities and several customers. It’s definitely an amazing and complex industry. I’m impressed by the processes SG goes through to create and ensure an amazing player experience and how we manage relationships with our customers and their governments. I’m also impressed by our SCiQ technology. It gives us an opportunity to provide data-driven solutions for lotteries.
What is the most important role that HR plays?
Mona: I believe it’s truly enabling business results: human capital capability and workforce planning. An organization’s most important asset is its people. It’s HR’s responsibility to develop and implement strategies that nurture and foster the growth and development of the teams. Our job is to make sure we have the best people, and that we’re taking care of them and maximizing their capabilities. All those things are critical. The CHRO’s role is directly correlated to the philosophy of the company’s leaders and helps set the tone and the culture for great organizations.
Should HR have a seat in the C-suite?
Mona: Absolutely. HR is a strategic partner that helps drive the overall business. We help define and execute strategy while keeping people front and center and top of mind.
Is the role of HR changing?
Mona: HR has truly evolved from a predominantly transactional personnel department to a strategic component of an organization. HR ensures that employees have top-notch leaders who help drive business results. What has remained the same is HR’s focus on employees, that’s the constant even as we adapt to new technology, automation and new ways of working – for example, remote or hybrid. HR’s role will continue to be dynamic now and into the future.
How do companies attract and retain the best of the best?
Mona: The workforce and work environment are a changing landscape right now. The companies that thrive recognize the shift and are agile in their approach. It starts with creating a dynamic candidate experience and an ongoing employee experience that provides learning and development opportunities. Employees want to work for a company with a mission, vision and values that they can relate to. Culture permeates every single aspect of a business, and it’s what differentiates one company from another. In my short time here, I would say that SG has a great culture and a great story to tell. Our business is making an impact on the world, and it’s fun.
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
Mona: Spending time with my family: my husband, four sons and our dog BOSS. They are my world. So, you’ll find me doing almost anything with them – from playing paintball and roller skating, to skiing and travel adventures like climbing to the top of a volcano in Cartagena, Colombia.